The intention of growing eucalyptus under community and farm forestry programme
before three decades (Bishaw, 2001), to solve wood demand
shortage in response to loss of natural forest has been changed to market oriented
growing practices over period of time (Mekonnen, 2000).
This is due to the fact that growing eucalyptus has significant economic benefit
to the land user (Wirtu and Gong, 2000; Liu
and Li, 2010). The cash obtained from eucalyptus sale assist smallholder
farmers to bridge the food shortage gap at household level. As a result, growing
eucalyptus at a farm level in a form of woodlot has become very common practice
among smallholder farmers in rural parts Ethiopia (Jagger
and Pender, 2003).
Agriculture is the means of livelihood for 85% of the population living in
rural area of Ethiopia (Bishaw, 2001; Tadessa,
2001). The contribution of smallholder farmers account for 90 and
95% of the total grain and coffee produced in the country respectively (Nicolas,
2007). Most of these agricultural productions are subsistence based to attain
food security. Productivity per unit area is also low due to land degradation
(Bishaw, 2001; Alam et al.,
2002; Jagger and Pender, 2003). The decision makers
have worried much about the expansion of eucalyptus in fear of jeopardizing
agricultural production in rural parts of Ethiopia (Jagger
and Pender, 2003). Non-foresters seriously complain the partly or completely
conversion of cultivated land to eucalyptus. The ecological dilemma of eucalyptus
(Liu and Li, 2010), getting the discussion point in
many forums. As a result, the use of extension to promote growing eucalyptus
for farm forestry development has never been policy objective in Ethiopia (EFAP,
1994; Jagger and Pender, 2003). At the end, the
Oromia regional government has put rules and regulations in place not to plant
eucalyptus on agricultural land in Oromia rural land use administration proclamation
Southwestern part of Ethiopia is coffee growing area, which is the most important cash crop. However, smallholder farmers grow eucalyptus as farm diversification to livelihood coping strategy to attain food security. There is insufficient information on the extent of eucalyptus on smallholder farmers livelihood coping strategy to food security. Discouraging eucalyptus may aggravate the food insecurity at smallholder farmers level. Therefore, the study aim at investigating to what extent growing eucalyptus brings a difference in livelihood of smallholder farmers to attain food security. The hypothesis is that the area is coffee growing area and growing eucalyptus doesnt bring any change in livelihood strategy of smallholder farmers.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The Study Site Description
The study was conducted at Gube Mulata 14 km from Jimma town. Geographically,
the study site is located between 36°00' and 37°00'
N and 7°00' and 8°00' E. The area receives
annual rainfall between 1200 and 2800 mm. The temperature ranges between 28.8
and 11.8°C. The altitude of the area is about 2000 m.a.s.l. The total population
of the area is about 5440. The total household number is 888 of which 714 and
74 male and female headed household, respectively. Agriculture is the means
of livelihood of the people (Kiflu et al., 2009).
The area is one of the major coffee growing areas. Maize, teff, sorghum, pulses
and root crops are the major crops grown in the area. Coffee is the most important
cash crop in the area.
A household survey was conducted between March to July 2010. Information
on household characteristics and growing eucalyptus were collected through interview.
Semi structured and structured type of questionnaire was used for interview.
The total number of the households in the study area was 888. From which 98
(11%) households were randomly selected for interview.
Annual income from eucalyptus and coffee was collected particularly from those
farmers who have the experience. Eucalyptus growers obtain income from eucalyptus
every three to four years. Annual income was assumed diving to three to four
without strictly considering the time value of money. The SPSS version 16 was
employed for data analysis. Two kinds of analysis were used for data analysis.
Independent t testing was used to see a difference between households and paired
t testing was used to see a difference within households. Square root data transformation
was done to fulfill the assumption of normality and homogeneity of variance
for independent testing. Moreover, data was analyzed using descriptive statistics.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Table 1 shows the summary of household characteristics
in the study area. The family size of the household was quite vary (Min. = 2,
Max. = 12, Mean = 6). Overall, the members per household were very large for
the households. Of the total households (n = 98), 29 households support family
members between 3 and 5 (29.8%), 39 households support family members between
5 and 7 (39.8%), 9 households support family members between 7 and 9 (9.1%),
5 households support family members between 9 and 12 (5.1%). In total 83.8%
of the total interviewed households support family members more than 3.
The survey result analysis also showed that about 50.6 and 42.6% of the total
sampled population (n = 98) was reported poor and medium, respectively. The
landholding size of the household varied from 0.1 to 7 ha. However, about 54.8%
of the household owned a land less than 1 ha. Smallholder farmers allocate important
enterprises for their livelihood across this small unit of land (Barrett
et al., 2001). Tekalign and Ayele (2003)
reported that farmers having below a hectare of land and with no access to diversification
are susceptible to food insecurity even with optimum use of the available technology.
Eucalyptus to Livelihood of Smallholder Farmers
Table 2 shows that large number of households engaged
in growing eucalyptus. From the total households interviewed (n = 98), 44 (44.9%)
owned eucalyptus. Eighty seven (90.6%) of the respondent claimed self-sufficient
to support their family throughout the year, of which 41 (47.12%) were eucalyptus
grower. From 97 households, only 12 households (12.4%) were capable to feed
the family throughout the year. The rest 85 households (87.6%) were capable
to feed up to eleven months from what they produce. As a result, smallholder
farmers need cash to bridge the gap to the minimum of a month to half years
to be self-sufficient in supporting family. Adekoya (2009)
reported that households engaged in one or more income generating activities
aside from primary occupation to meet food needs.
|| Summary of household characteristics
|| Proportion of self-sufficient households in study area
|| Frequency distribution of households categories based on
annual income (ETB)
|*ETB: Ethiopian birr 1= only coffee grower households,
2 = Coffee and eucalyptus grower households
Ahmed et al. (2004) also reported that tree
in homestead generate income to the farmers. Schreckenberg
et al. (2006) described the important gap-filling role of income
from indigenous fruit trees at the start of the agricultural season in Benin.
Coffee and eucalyptus were the main source of cash for the households. Table
3 shows annual income of household from coffee and eucalyptus. From the
total households considered for interview, 92 households grow coffee, of which
44 households also have eucalyptus. From coffee growers, only 88 households
were willing to respond to the question regarding their annual income from coffee
and eucalyptus, of which 35 households were own both coffee and eucalyptus.
The frequency distribution result showed that the annual income of the majority
of only coffee grower households were between 1000 and 2000 Ethiopian birr (26.4%).
For households who grow both coffee and eucalyptus the largest proportions were
more than 4000 Ethiopian birr (31.4%). Could there have not been income from
eucalyptus, this frequency distribution had been shifted to annual income between
2000 and 3000 Ethiopian birr. This implies that eucalyptus growers tend to be
more financially secured in ensuring food security (Adekoya,
2009). Eucalyptus can save farmer from poverty in such a way that it will
provide them some supporting returns after harvesting the trees (Ahmed
et al., 2007).
Effect of Eucalyptus on Livelihood of Smallholder Farmers
Table 4 shows two categories of households; only coffee
grower and coffee and eucalyptus grower. The result showed that there was a
difference in annual income between eucalyptus and non-eucalyptus grower households.
|| Summary of household income from coffee and eucalyptus (ETB/year)
|*Mean for transformed data
|| Comparison between households (n = 52 coffee and 34 both
coffee and eucalyptus)
|* = Reducing the cash obtained from eucalyptus, ETB: Ethiopian
The annual income within eucalyptus grower households changes with eucalyptus
land use option. The average annual incomes of coffee and eucalyptus grower
households were greater than only coffee grower households. Within coffee and
eucalyptus grower households again the average annual income was better when
eucalyptus maintained in land use.
Table 5 shows mean annual income comparison between only coffee grower households and coffee and eucalyptus grower households. An independent t testing result showed the average annual income of coffee and eucalyptus grower household was significantly different from only coffee grower households (p = 0.003). The average annual income of coffee and eucalyptus grower household was significantly higher than the average annual income of only coffee grower households.
The paired t testing result shows that there could be significant difference
in annual income within coffee and eucalyptus grower households (t = 7.441,
df = 34, p = 0.000). The average annual income of household was significantly
higher when eucalyptus opted for land use (Mean = 3278.34 and 2260.63 with and
without eucalyptus, respectively). Ahmed et al. (2007)
reported that eucalyptus was raised with the objective of getting more economic
return. Adekoya (2009) mentioned that households engaged
in various forms of agricultural activities to meet food security. Tekalign
and Ayele (2003) reported that eucalyptus serves as a cash crop. The sale
of eucalyptus has the potential to raise farm incomes, reduce poverty, increase
food security and diversify smallholder farming systems in less favored areas
(Jagger and Pender, 2003). Alam et
al. (2005) reported that the income from tree species was significantly
different within the farm categories. The medium farmers were reported to intensive
cultivate the homegarden to get monetary benefits. Experiences from northern
Ethiopia showed that eucalyptus woodlots with an average planting density of
4,500 trees/ha and survival rate of 64% worth more than 80,000 Ethiopian birr/ha.
It can be concluded from the aforementioned statement that smallholder farmers claimed self-sufficient based on the production they produce and cash they can get for access to food. Eucalyptus has significant benefit as a cash crop to smallholder farmers. Growing eucalyptus is the most important livelihood part of poor and medium households. Discouraging eucalyptus may increase vulnerability to food insecurity at household level.
Author would like to thank Getachew Kebede, Development Agent, for his assistance during data collection. My gratitude goes to Dr. Fikrie Lemessa for his kind vehicle
assistance during the field work. My heartfelt gratitude goes to all who directly or indirectly contributed to the paper work.